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James Edmund Leavenworth, Jr.
(October 16, 1929 - November 19, 2006)

Grand Marais

James Edmund Leavenworth Jr. of Grand Marais, MI, and formerly of New Britain, CT, died on Sunday, November 19, 2006 at his home after a battle with cancer. He was 77. Jim was born Oct. 16, 1929 in East Grand Rapids, MI to James E. Leavenworth Sr. and Helen Sherman Leavenworth. He graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1947. He served in the U.S. Army from 1948-49 and was honorably discharged. Jim went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative literature from Grinnell College in Iowa in 1953. While attending Grinnell, he won several awards for his writing, which included original plays and musicals. Jim pursued a graduate degree at the University of New Mexico, where he wrote a college textbook titled, "Fundamentals of Poetry." Jim's first marriage was to Nancy Gardner. They had four children _ James III, Phillip, Gayle and Daniel. His second marriage was to Lois Riley of New Britain, his wife of 47 years. They also had four children _ Sherman, Jesse, Kathleen and Matthew. He wrote a trade magazine for General Electric in New York state, then worked as an advertising account executive for Ramsay Advertising Agency in Iowa. In Connecticut, Jim wrote speeches and campaign advertisements for various politicians, including former New Britain mayors William McNamara and Donald DeFronzo and state Sen. Joseph Harper. He also helped organize and promote New Britain's annual downtown festival, Main Street U.S.A. Jim wrote extensively for The Herald of New Britain, including a series on the American Revolution during the nation's bicentennial. He was known throughout the area for his letters to the Herald editor and was profiled in The Hartford Courant. In 1992, Jim and Lois moved from New Britain to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Jim served on the Burt Township school board and gave frequent lectures on Shakespeare and other writers to students at the township high school. He also wrote a regular newsletter for alumni of East Grand Rapids High School's Class of 1947. Besides his wife and eight children, he is survived by a brother, David Leavenworth of Frankfort, MI, and Dallas, TX; 14 grandchildren, Riley and Kassie Leavenworth of Harwinton, CT, Kerry, Kathleen and John Leavenworth of Terryville, CT, Megan and Abigail Leavenworth of Berlin, CT, Mariah, Jessie Lynn, Cynthia and Augustine Yerbich of Wasilla, AK, Emily Higson and Mark Hiester, both of Seattle, WA, and Robert Hiester of San Diego, CA; a son-in-law, Eugene Yerbich of Wasilla, AK; and three daughters-in-law, Catherine Leavenworth of Harwinton, CT, Lynn Leavenworth of Terryville, CT, and Lisa Leavenworth of Berlin, CT. Memorial services will be scheduled at the United Methodist Church in Grand Marais on Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: North Woods Home Nursing and Hospice, P.O. Box 307, Manistique, MI 49854.


Submitted by Char Livermore




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